Review Blog

Nov 01 2015

What we left behind by Robin Talley

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Harlequin Books, 2015. ISBN 9781743694275
(Age: 16+) Recommended for a mature 16 year old. Gender identity. University and college students.  What we left behind, follows Toni and Gretchen, two girls who have had a perfect relationship for two years and that will all change as they are about to face going to college without each other. However it's not long before they realise how hard it is to maintain a long distance relationship. While Gretchen knows she's a lesbian, Toni is unsure about her gender. She identifies as genderqueer, but hates labels. At college Toni starts hanging out with a group of transgender students that take her under their wing and help her realise that she may feel more like a boy than a girl. Gretchen has always been supportive of Toni being genderqueer, but as they grow further apart, and more life changing decisions are made, Gretchen is left feeling lonelier and lonelier.
As much as I liked the idea of this book, something left me disappointed. I enjoyed the way it was written with alternative points of view from both the main characters. I just didn't like the character Toni evolved into or the relationships she shared. Gretchen and the relationships she had with other characters from college were really great and it was interesting to see the journey they developed though out the book. Despite that I would recommend this book for a mature 16 year old and would compare it to either Robin Talley's other book Lies we tell ourselves or The perks of being a wallflower by Stephen Chbosky.
Suggested reading age from 16 years of age.
Jody Holmes

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